At about 3 p.m. on Christmas Day a 34-year-old transexual of Brazilian origin committed suicide by hanging herself with a sheet in the Via Corelli CIE in Milan, where she had recently been detained. Another detainee sounded the alarm half an hour later, but it was too late, and medics were unable to save her.
“The umpteenth victim of the measures dictated by the Italian Northern League and the “security package” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of Everyone Group, the human rights association.
“We are talking about a cruel law that has introduced the crime of “illegal entry”, which means that immigrants without a permit to remain in Italy are in danger of being arrested at any moment, after which they face a stay in the CIE detention centres for up to six months (undergoing inhuman treatment) and then deportation.
When tragedies like these happen, it becomes necessary to reflect on the reality of these detention centres which are authentic prisons in which every human right is violated. So much so, that during a recent press conference in L’Aquila with the European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi himself defined them as “similar to concentration camps”.
We wish to point out that Italy also holds the European “record” for the number of cases of discrimination, murder and violence against transexuals: a terrible situation which leaves transexual and transgender people vulnerable and excluded”, continue the representatives of EveryOne.
“The press, authorities and institutions treat them with prejudice and reserve for them a treatment that is damaging to their human dignity. And as if this weren’t enough to arouse the indignation of civil people, we will point out that Italy also holds the record for the number of suicides, violence and rape cases in its prisons”.
EveryOne Group, along with the Radical Party and the anti-racist network, has been monitoring the CIEs throughout Italy since February 2009 and has noticed that the number of suicides (either attempted or successful), and particularly among transexual or transgender immigrants, are on the steady increase. This is all taking place within the confines of the Italian CIESs, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.
“The health and sanitary conditions inside these centres are a disgrace, they are often without running water and access to decent toilets and showers - not to mention the violence and humiliation detainees suffer, which have often been documented by our group: cruelty taking place between the walls of the CIEs, with threats, beatings, punishments and brutal treatment. We have approached, “say Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau, “the offices of the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva and those of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (with which EveryOne works in close collaboration) asking that the serious violations of fundamental human rights being carried out in the prison system and the Italian anti-immigrant policies be brought to the attention of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations”.